Damen Shipyards Group has signed a contract with Société de Transport Lagunaire (STL) to build sixteen shallow-draft passenger ferries for the Ivory Coast. The contract represents part of a forward-thinking presidential plan that strives to reduce urban congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in the city Abidjan.
Known as the economic capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan is located around the 100-km long Ébrié Lagoon on the west coast of Africa and therefore water-based transport holds a vital position in everyday life in the area. Furthermore, due to rapid population growth and the deterioration of existing ferry services, traffic congestion is a major problem in the city.
This multiple vessel contract is part of the Ivory Coast’s government’s increased focus on urban infrastructure improvement. The presidential plan entails provision of cost effective and reliable public transport options for the growing urban population.
“Abidjan’s population has increased five-fold in the last 20 years,” explains Damen Sales Manager Africa Jan van der Vorm. “And much of the existing ferry infrastructure is in urgent need of renewal. In order for the city’s growth to continue in a sustainable way, the transport sector has become a top priority.”
Damen has designed the 18-metre vessels according to the standards of the International Association of Classification Societies. Each powered by two Volvo D5 engines, the ferries will be able to transport up to 130 passengers at speeds of 10 knots. One key design parameter concerned the vessels’ draught specifications: the vessels achieve these by having an air draught of 4 metres and a 1-metre water draught.
A growing city
Construction of all the ferries will take place at Damen Shipyards Koźle in Poland. The yard will adhere to a tightly-planned production schedule to meet STL’s delivery requirements. The first four ferries will be delivered in January 2017 – the rest will be delivered four at a time, every 8 weeks, in three batches thereafter.
“Not only does this contract represent a new client for us, but it also involves a new vessel that we have designed specifically for this project,” states Mr Van der Vorm. “We are very pleased to contribute to the development of this growing city – this is just the first phase of a much larger project, the scope of which extends to a total of 45 vessels by 2020. It is a project that we are extremely proud to be involved in.”